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JustHere | October 24, 2014

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The Park that’s more than just that

The Park that’s more than just that
Christine Gerber Rutt

In the concluding part of our Al Rumailah Park review , we look at why this park is like no other in the city. Shopping!

Cultural Saloon

Under the organisational umbrella of the Ministry of Culture Arts and Heritage, which has a wide reaching arm indeed, and encompasses practically anything considered culture in the country. The Saloon has in the past hosted discussions such as “Identity in Sudan” or the use of e-journalism in the Gulf. They also host poetry discussions featuring local, expat and international poets. The Iraqi poet, Shawqi Abd al-Amir, is a frequent guest. The building at Rumailah Park has been permanently closed and events are temporarily held at the National Theatre until a new premise is organized. Events are held in Arabic. For more information call 44022222 and ask to be added to the SMS notification list. Up-to-date information will be sent to you, free of charge.

Heritage House

According to the Ministry of Culture Arts and Heritage this House no longer exists. It is mentioned here because, as you will see, the building remains at Rumailah and many visitors enquire about its activities. Heritage House had been the workshop for the Social Development Center. They trained men and women in producing traditional handcrafts, who then sold the crafts at local festivals.

Heritage Village

Heritage Village is not to be confused with Heritage House (see above) or Katara Cultural Village.

Acquiring concrete information about Heritage Village activities can be difficult. Here are the facts: Heritage Village is cradled on the south side of Rumailah Park. When it was built it was intended to be an educational center, designed to simulate a traditional (as in pre-oil) Qatari seaside village. With time it displayed a variety of traditional activities like dhow building, hand weaving, bread making and pearl trading.

Currently, Heritage Village is open for special events only, usually a few times a year and often correlating with Eid holidays or large festivals. Such was the case in 2010 when Doha was the Arab Capital of Culture. During that time the Village experienced a mini-revival with many evening events being held. One of the most popular was the Garangao children’s festival; Garangao is a Gulf tradition held on the 14th day of Ramadan when children visit their neighbors seeking sweets and treats.

The Ministry of Culture, Arts and Heritage, report that the Heritage Village holds recreational events in the early evening every Friday and Saturday during cooler months. If the event is popular it will be extended a day. These events are for both adults and children, free and open to the general public. The reality is that these events do not occur weekly.

While Heritage Village is no longer, very, active, it still holds a firm, if softening, spot in the city’s mental and physical landscape. Even if it isn’t open, the casual visitor can see through the fencing into the courtyard, surrounded by wooden, beautifully simplistic, single-story buildings, including a traditional mosque, and a dhow, in a state of constant repair.

Open-air Theater

Now mostly the haunt of children and teenagers horsing around in the evening. On very rare occasions the theater is filled with the sound of school music presentations.

Mosque

Women’s entry is located downstairs near the open-air theater.

Internet Service

Thanks to upgrades in June 2011, Wi-Fi is available throughout the park. It’s simple to use but you must have a cell phone to obtain the PIN code. All you need to do is connect to the park network; follow the step-by-step instructions (available in Arabic or English). Users will be instructed to first register their phone number. Within seconds, you will receive an SMS with your free PIN code. Enter the code and speed away. The service is completely free of charge and the instructions are user-friendly. ww.ictqatar.qa

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